Today we are going to look at some practical things that will help you engage Muslims for Christ. It is good to have Shahram, who is a former Muslim from Iran, talking to us about these things because he knows how best to approach Muslims and how they will respond to the Gospel.
Before we get into this I want to share some news with you. I have put these stories on our FaceBook page. While you are there, hit the like button and help spread the news with your friends.
The first news Item I want to talk about is from the Huffington Post. Research has found that Islam is the largest non-Christian group in twenty states. Most of those states are in the south and the mid-west. Here is a list of those states:
- North Carolina
- West Virginia
- South Dakota
- North Dakota
There are a lot of surprises on this list. Notice how many of these states are in the Bible belt.
The next story I want to share with you is from NBC. The article says “Muslims make up less than 1 percent of the U.S. population, according to studies by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. In 2011, about 1.8 million U.S. adults were Muslim, and about 20 percent had converted to the faith, Pew researchers say.”
Think about this, 20% of the Muslims in America are Americans who have converted from other religions or from being non-religious. This means that 360,000 Americans have converted to Islam. Most of these conversions come from our prison system. Muslims do a lot of recruiting in our prisons and they also do a lot of proselytizing in our colleges through the Muslim Student Association.
Islam in our country is not benign, they are not just looking after their own, they are evangelizing and proselyting our young and vulnerable. This is just one more reason to address the Islam issue before it is too late.
Now let’s continue with what Shahram Hadian has to say about reaching Muslims. Again, I suggest you listen to the broadcast by clicking on the player above.
The first question is how to you approach a Muslim? The answer is the same as you would reach others. You start by building relationships with them. You have to show an interest in their lives. Of course your primary interest is their eternity, but you will not reach them until you build a relationship with them that is based upon a true interest in them as a person. You should show your interest by asking questions about their lives, not just religious questions, but questions about their families, their interests, etc. You would ask similar questions to anyone else you were getting to know.
Once you develop a relationship you can start asking questions about their culture and their belief system. They do have a different culture and belief system and it is natural that you should be interested in learning more. It is important that you show genuine interest when you ask these questions.
The Bible says “A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.” (Proverbs 18:24)
Islam teaches that Muslims are not to be friends with Christians. It is a powerful thing for a Christian to show genuine interest in becoming their friend.
Dr. Ergun Canter, a former Muslim, wrote, “You may be the first Christian friend that a Muslim has ever had. You need to understand that there are layers of suspicion and doubt that must be cut away, especially from those immigrants who have a caricature of Christians as hateful, selfish, and openly sinful. It may take time to bridge the gap.” He goes on to say “Often taking an interest in their lives is the best open door. Ask questions, be genuinely curious. Ask about their clothing, holidays, and dietary restrictions. Once they respond in kind, don’t be secretive about your faith, rather be clear.” The point is that they also are curious about you.
Something we must also understand is that Muslims view all Americans as Christians. We know that this is not true, but that is their understanding. When they look at the immorality in America they equate that with Christianity. This means that we, as Christians, need to demonstrate a sense of morality based on our Scriptures.
One of the best questions to ask a Muslim is, “Have you ever let a Christian open the Bible and explain it to you?” Then follow up with, “If you ever want to do that, would you let me do that? I promise I am not going to tell you that I’m right and your wrong. If the Bible is truly God’s Word, it will speak to your heart. If you have any questions I’ll try to answer them.” It is hard to get a Muslim to read the Bible, but when we do, they start seeing the truth that is found their and it has an effect on them.
Muslims Objections To The Gospel
One of the biggest objections that Muslims have is the Trinity. They have been taught that we believe in three gods and are polytheistic. We have to explain to them that this is not the case. Islam teaches that Allah is not a father and the idea that he could have a son is totally foreign to them. The idea of a Holy Spirit is also foreign to them also.
They believe that when we talk about the Trinity we are saying that Joseph is the father, Mary is the mother, and Jesus is the son. They believe that we should not say that any of these are God.
The Bible teaches us that there is a heavenly Father who has revealed Himself in three distinct persons but they are all one God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
When we deal with this subject we must start by presenting the concept of a heavenly Father. This could be a very important issue to a Muslim because if he leaves Islam he will probably lose his earthly father.
Muslims have been wrongly taught what Christians believe and what we do believe needs to be explained to them. We must communicate that we are not trying to win a debate with them, we are just answering questions and clearing up what Christians really believe. If we make it an adversarial confrontation you may have all the answers and win the battle, but you will lose the war. The objective is not to win an argument, it is to win them to Christ.
The second area they will usually attack is our Bible. They have been taught that our Bible has been corrupted. There are a lot of resources out there that you can study to learn why we can have confidence that our Bible is God’s Word. It was inspired by God and it has been preserved by God. You need to be familiar with this subject because if you are going to be dealing with Muslims they will bring this subject up.
It is so important that we get Muslims into the Word of God. Remember, “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17)
If they have been taught that your Bible is corrupt then you need to answer that question. There is ample proof of the reliability of the Bible but I don’t have the time in this short article to cover this. This is why we have produced the course “Engaging Muslims With The Gospel” to help you. It is a 90 page book and four hours of my teaching on this subject. You can get it in our online store. You can also get it by calling 1-800-716-9272.
Another important point you will have to deal with is their concept of Jesus. The Qur’an teaches that Jesus is a prophet of Islam. It mentions this some 90 times. They have been taught that we believe that man became a god. We need to show them that this is not what we believe. We believe that God became a man.
They need to understand that because of God’s love for mankind (John 3:16) He sent His eternal Son, Jesus Christ, to pay the penalty for our sin. This will be a new concept to them because in Islam there is no concept of the atonement for sin. There is no sure solution to the problem of sin. All they know is that Allah is fair.
We must teach them that God so loved them that He came Himself to pay their debt. This will touch them. It may initially offend them, but it will touch them.
It is very upsetting to me to hear those who want an interfaith dialog say that Christians believe in Jesus and Muslims believe in Jesus and that it is the same Jesus. Nothing could be farther from the truth. We need to present the true Jesus of the Bible to them.
I want to give you ten steps suggested by Dr. Mark Gabriel for reaching Muslims. Dr. Mark Gabriel is a pseudonym name for a former Muslim who was an Imam who studied at Al Azhar university, the most prestigious school in the Islamic world. He started studying the Christian Scriptures to prepare himself to deal with Christianity and ended up getting save. This shows how important it is to get Muslims into the Bible.
1. Make Friends – Very important
2. Prayer – Equally important – Dr. Bob Baird (Mission Director) said “No one was ever saved that was not prayed for first.”
3. Share the Word of God – This is key
We must get them into the Bible. It is the power of God’s word that can change hearts and lives.
Jer 23:29 – “Is not my word like as a fire? saith the LORD; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?”
Heb 4:12 “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”
Ps 19:7 “The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure,making wise the simple.”
Rom 10:17 “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”
Most Muslims welcome spiritual conversation. Talk about Christ, sin, heaven and hell. Tell them about your assurance of salvation because God cannot lie.
4. Ask thought provoking Questions
Good questions to ask are:
“Do you have assurance that God will accept you?”
“What does the Qur’an say about forgiveness?”
“Is God more concerned about our outward ceremonies or the condition of our hearts?”
“Do you serve God because you love him, or because you are afraid of Him?”
“Is God able to forgive sins without a sacrifice?”
“Can God Lie?”
“Can we trust God to keep His promise?”
5. Listen actively
Give them an opportunity to respond. Don’t interrupt. You will learn a lot just by listening.
6. Present your beliefs openly without apology.
Be clear and show the scripture for your beliefs as support for your teachings. This will place the responsibility for your doctrines where it belongs – On God’s Word.
7. Reason – Don’t argue
An argument may win a point but lose a hearing. Don’t get upset. Remember, they don’t have the Spirit of God yet. Truth cannot be discerned by them yet.
8. Never denigrate Mohammad or the Qur’an You are seldom persuasive when you are abrasive!
9. Respect their customs and sensitivities
Do not place your Bible on the floor. Muslims revere their holy book by covering it in velvet and placing it in an elevated place.
Do not speak about sex, it is dirty to Muslims.
Do not appear too familiar with the opposite sex. Be discrete and proper in this regard,
Do not make jokes about sacred things as prayer, fasting, heaven, hell or God.
Do not offer pork to eat.
Do not offer alcohol in any form.
Do not dress immodestly whether you are a male or female.
Do not show cleavage or thighs. Notice how careful their women are in covering themselves.
As mentioned before, be patient. Let the Word of God and the Holy Spirit do its work in their heart. You want a Real Convert – not a False Convert.